Guidance

Observers at Parole Board oral hearings

The Parole Board Observer Policy Guidance gives information for parties to a parole review on how to request for an observer to attend an oral hearing.

Documents

Parole Board observer policy guidance

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Parole Board observer confidentiality form

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Details

The Parole Board Rules 2019 allow for observers to attend oral hearings, and sets out the process and timings as follows:

14.—(1) A party who wishes to be accompanied at an oral hearing by an observer must make a written application to the Board but such an application may not be made later than 12 weeks before the date allocated for the oral hearing under rule 22.

(2) A party who makes an application to be accompanied by an observer under paragraph (1) must, at the same time, also serve a copy of the application on the other party.

(3) Within 14 days of the receipt of the application under paragraph (2), the other party may make representations to the Board on the application.

(4) After the 14-day period for the other party to make representations under paragraph (3) has expired, the panel chair or duty member must determine the application for a party to be accompanied by an observer and communicate this decision to the parties.

(5) Before granting an application made under paragraph (1), the panel chair or duty member must obtain the agreement of— (a) the prison governor or prison director, where the hearing is being held in a prison, or (b) in any other circumstance, the person who appears to the panel chair or duty member to have the authority to agree to the admittance of the proposed observer to the premises.

In order to support the consideration of such applications, the guidance has been provided to Parole Board members. Whilst the guidance aims to provide advice for most eventualities there may always be unusual circumstances not covered.

This guidance should be read carefully before considering applying to observe a parole oral hearing, which must be made through one of the parties.

Published 4 September 2019